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"What Have We Done To This Beautiful Variety?"
asks Ghalib Al-Nasser

Within the space of just over ten years this variety has been paired to virtually every other variety; Normals, Opalines, Cinnamons, Pieds, Clearwings, Yellows, Whites, Yellow-faces, Redeyes and others. I have bred Yellow, Dominant Pied and Recessive Pied (but not the Crest as yet) in the Spangle combination. Within this period the Spangles produced, taking size aside, bear no resemblance to those that I saw back in 1980. So what have we done to this beautiful variety? Was it because of the craze for producing size that we lost the initial objective: to breed birds of good size combined with good spangling on the wings and the bulls-eye spots?

At one stage I thought that only the Normal Spangles would carry the desirable wing markings but this is not the case anymore. I have Spangles that in appearance may be considered to be Opaline Spangles (the background of the wings being substituted by the bird's body colour) but genetically they breed as Normals if paired with Normals. We are producing Spangles that are winning best in show and section in the strongest competition all over the country. But where we have gained in size we have lost in coloration. So what is the solution?

Breeders are in two categories; those wishing to "better" the variety pair them to their best Normals, hopefully keeping in mind the objectives of spangling on the wings and the bulls-eye spots. On the other hand, we have those who are endeavouring to determine and fix the origin of the variety by putting the Spangle to other varieties.

Now that we have fixed the size on the bird we need, by careful selective breeding, to fix the various Spangle characteristics. It is not an easy task but a possible one. Jeff Attwood in his talk to the members of the Spangled Budgerigar Breeders' Association suggested the use of Normals that have been bred from Spangle  Normal pairing. This he feels, can contribute to producing Spangles with the desirable wing marking.


 If the Spangle is a truly dominant character, then what difference does it make which partner we use with it? There have been a number of anomalies bred with the Spangle. A Spangle Recessive Pied I bred in 1988 had distinct iris rings around both eyes. A number of Spangles bred have shown the Dominant pied head patch. Some have black spots without the bulls-eye spots. An adult double factor Spangle I saw recently, did not have the iris ring around the eyes. More and more are being bred with black markings on wings or black tail feathers. The most common fault without a doubt, is the exchange of the black edging on the wing feather with that of the body colour - a Light Green will show green instead of black on the wing marking.

An anomaly that was brought to our attention recently is the production of Normals from the pairing of double factor Spangle to Normal (second pairing). Theoretically this defies the laws of genetics as only single factor Spangles should be produced. This is not an isolated case as it had happened on a number of occasions in various parts of the world. Does this indicate that the gene might be a "semi-dominant" gene?

Another anomaly is the appearance of Spangles with the head patch, similar to that of the Dominant Pied variety, further indicating that a link between those two varieties might exist.

A fancier who breeds Spangles to exhibit them should restrict him/herself to breed the variety and colour combination that can be exhibited in the correct class. Apart from colour variation, I see no point in breeding Spangles in the Pied or Yellow-face variety. Pied Spangles will lose the beauty of the bird in both varieties. A Yellow-face Spangle will have that yellow tinge running through the white areas of the bird (wing and tail). A suffused White or Yellow Spangle will be difficult to identify. The cinnamon factor tends to dilute the heavy spangling on the wings and the Opalines have the tendency to change the black edging on the wing feathers by the bird's body colour.

Spangle Review

Issue No. 26 ~ Winter 2000
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